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Furness hospital likely to be run down, predicts retired surgeon

A RETIRED surgeon has expressed his “alarm” at ongoing changes at Furness General Hospital.

Richard Wilson, a consultant urological surgeon, said the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust “must come clean and tell the public how FGH will look in the future”.

Ongoing projects at UHMBT, including a cost improvement plan and an ongoing service review being carried out with GP commissioners, are causing increasing unrest among the public.

Mr Wilson, of Church Walk, Ulverston, said: “The problem is that the trust has three hospitals and needs probably only two but will not come out and say so.

“The likelihood is that FGH will be run down and provide only very basic services in the near future. The trust board assumes that the transfer of services to Lancaster or Kendal is perfectly acceptable because it knows what is best for the people of Furness.”

In a letter to the Evening Mail, Mr Wilson praised the organisers of high-profile public battles over proposed changes to FGH oncology services and the feared threat to its maternity unit.

And, he added: “Services with a much lower profile have been either removed or decimated very quietly.”

Examples provided by Mr Wilson included the removal of vascular surgery from FGH, other than that for varicose veins, urology services including kidney removals having to be carried out at Lancaster and follow-up cystoscopies for bladder cancer patients being moved to Kendal.

He said there is a proposal to move urodynamics (bladder and urethra tests) to Lancaster and that audiology and some pharmacy services are among other areas “not immune to removal from FGH”.

Responding to Mr Wilson’s concerns, UHMBT chief executive, Jackie Daniel, said the public’s views are being sought as part of the service review.

This feedback will be fed into a set of possible options, which will then go to formal consultation late this summer.

She added: “We work as a network of hospitals to ensure we can provide – efficiently and safely – a wide range of services to patients across the area.

“While on occasion patients may need to travel, we try to provide services to patients as close to home as possible and have recently seen chemotherapy introduced at Kendal and the symptomatic breast clinic return to Barrow.

“However, in the longer term, the better care together review of services across the Morecambe Bay area is the opportunity to make sure the best possible health services are provided across North Lancashire and South Cumbria, which meet the needs of residents, now and well into the future.”

Have your say

Well said Mr Wilson, always an honest man with integrity and one that has seen some coming and goings in the NHS over the years and once again he is not wrong, this has been the writing on the wall for a long time.

Posted by Former Colleague on 11 April 2013 at 11:04

Richard Wilson? I don't believe it!

Posted by Old John on 10 April 2013 at 12:45

View all 6 comments on this article

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